Posts Tagged 'san diego environment'

San Diego Schools Step Up Their Recycling

At I Love A Clean San Diego, we work to lead and inspire our community to actively conserve and enhance the environment so that our children can enjoy this beautiful region for future generations to come. That’s why we believe in engaging with local schools to instill in them environmental values and habits at an early age.

Did you know that the average elementary school student drinks 133 servings of milk or juice per year? For the average elementary school, that means students consume approximately 75,000 carton beverages per year – that means more than 6 billion cartons are consumed in schools every year!

With carton recycling now available in over 60% of the country, including San Diego, we want to spread the word that you can recycle your cartons and help everyone improve their recycling habits.

Congratulations to Teirrasanta and Cherokee Point Elementary schools for leading by example. Take a look at the great work they’ve already done:

Tierrasanta Elementary won the San Diego Unified School District’s Most-Improved Recycling Award for 2016-17 by boosting their recycling diversion from 10% to 25% (by weight) over the course of just one school year. Through increased classroom recycling efforts as well as lunchtime recycling of cartons, lunch trays, and other recyclables, Tierrasanta students were able to reduce trash service, dramatically improve recycling rates, and save the school money.

Tierrasanta students use a helpful recycling station set up to stay mindful of what goes where when lunchtime ends!

Diverting 95% of all lunchtime waste is an extraordinary feat, and that’s exactly what Cherokee Point Elementary of San Diego Unified School District accomplished last school year. Students and staff joined together to ensure liquids, cartons, lunch trays, and food scraps were kept out of the trash and out of our landfills. The school’s Green Team students encouraged other students to properly sort their waste and take on litter pickup to keep campus clean.

Cherokee Point Elementary’s Green Team helped students sort their garbage leading to a 95% diversion of lunchtime waste!

School recycling programs not only encourage children to learn about the importance of recycling, but they also enable communities to recover large quantities of valuable materials, like beverage cartons. To start or enhance carton recycling efforts at your or your child’s school in San Diego, visit cartonopportunities.org. Our partner, Carton Council, has created materials specifically to help parents, teachers, and administrators get started.

Advertisements

Moriah bridges love for craft beer & the environment

Mo brewing beerToday’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah as she shares her love for San Diego craft beer and our environment!

I am known as the resident beer nerd at I Love a Clean San Diego.  After working at a local brewery for about a year and brewing at home, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about beer.  One thing I didn’t know, however, was how connected my love of beer was to my love for the environment.  In a city like San Diego, it’s not surprising that our local breweries value our environment as much as they value their craft.

Ways SD breweries minimize waste

Water conservation is a big issue for everyone in California, and that includes craft breweries.  The industry average in California ranges from 3.5 to 6 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced.  Breweries in San Diego are leading the way in reducing the amount of water needed for their production.  Local breweries are becoming increasingly water-wise.  According to the California Craft Brewers Association, Ballast Point has reduced its water use by more than 24 percent, and Stone Brewing Company recycles more than 62 percent of its water daily.

One of the biggest ways that local breweries reduce waste is by using their spent grain in creative ways.  Spent grain is the grain left over after the brewing process.  Instead of throwing this used grain in the landfill, most of San Diego’s breweries donate it to local farms, where it can be used as livestock feed.  Stone Brewing Company even uses it as a mulching tool in their garden.  Some of their spent grain goes towards locally made soaps and dog treats as well!

Hop farm

Hop farm picture is Jordan Brownwood tending hops at Nopalito Farm & Hopyard. Photo credit:  slowfoodurbansandiego.org

San Diego is known for its hop-heavy beers, but did you know that farms right here in San Diego County grow one of beer’s most important ingredients? Nopalito Farms is a local, family-run organic hopyard and orchard in North County San Diego.  Since water conservation is always an issue in Southern California, Nopalito Farms has adopted sustainable farming practices like drip irrigation and mulching, and they work to maximize the rain that they get in Valley Center.

Imbibe with the earth in mind!

  • Bring a growler with you next time you pick up beer. Instead of cans or glass bottles that will end up in your blue bin, get a reusable growler and take it to the closest brewery.  Get fresh, draft beer straight from the source! Be sure to check with the brewery first to see if they have any specific growler policies.
  • Reuse old beer or wine bottles to make decorations for your house. At our recent Sustainable Living Workshop that focuses on a zero waste home, our educators taught attendees how to reuse their old bottles and turn them into fashionable home decorations.

    Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (29)

    One example of a  repurposed wine bottle from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.

Volunteer at Cupid’s Cleanup!

If all of this beer talk has you thirsty, you can join us and Benchmark Brewing Company on Saturday, February 13th from 10am-12pm for a cleanup of the San Diego River! Why not switch up the typical dinner and a movie Valentine’s Day date and help us clean up the San Diego River instead. Then, if this blog has inspired you to try some local San Diego suds, you can join us afterward for a Valentine’s Day-themed mixer hosted by Benchmark Brewing Company! Families, sweethearts, kids, and singles are all welcome.

Register here! Help us spread the word by joining the Facebook event and sharing the cleanup with your friends and family. 

cupids instagram

Fall Cleanups prepare SD for El Niño

Moriah_team15Today’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah Saldaña. If you’ve been wanting to join us for one of cleanups but haven’t had the opportunity, October is your month. Read on to learn more about what makes our fall cleanup line up so important and how you can be a part of it!

After four years of severe drought, the coming of El Niño is welcome news! Scientists are predicting even greater storms during this rainy season than in 1997.  It is important to ensure that we are prepared, whether that means clearing your rain gutters, taking advantage of the City of San Diego’s rain barrel rebate program, or clearing our natural spaces of litter and debris.  Yes, that’s right, it is crucial to remove as much trash as possible now to prevent flooding caused by waterways blocked with trash and overgrown vegetation. On top of the possibility of flooding, whatever trash remains in local creeks and canyons will flow directly to the Pacific Ocean, causing coastal pollution and beach closures.

Tijuana River, US Border, Looking toward Tijuana, United States-Mexico Border, San Diego, California

San Diego has 11 watersheds made up of canyons and waterways which empty into the Pacific Ocean. (Tijuana River Valley pictured)

Interested in helping? We have two upcoming cleanup opportunities that need your support, just in time for the rainy season!

TRAM calendar buttonCome out to the Tijuana River Valley on Saturday, October 3rd from 9am-noon to help I Love A Clean San Diego pull trash, tires, and other debris from the Dairy Mart Road Bridge area before it makes it way out to the Pacific.  This event is a part of Tijuana River Action Month, which is a series of events held during September and October to bring people together in an effort to improve the Tijuana River Valley.  With around 40 volunteers at our June Tijuana River Valley Cleanup, we cleaned up over 4,000 pounds of trash.  Think of how much more we could pick up with double the volunteers! To register, click here.

SONY DSC

The bucket says it all. Come out, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty for a clean & beautiful San Diego!

Clearing trash out of the Tijuana River Valley is especially important before this rainy season, since our beaches in the South Bay are consistently some of the most polluted beaches.  Even today, the Beach Advisory is warning people not to go to any beach south of Coronado because of possible pollution.

tram water bottlesocial media

Volunteer at the Tijuana River Valley Cleanup to claim your very own ILACSD water bottle!

And a thank you, everyone who volunteers this Saturday at the Tijuana River Cleanup will receive a complimentary reusable water bottle! Click here to register today.

IMG_2952

Beautify Chula Vista Day is great for the whole family!

BCVD calendar buttonThe following weekend on October 10th, we are partnering with the City of Chula Vista for the 13th Annual Beautify Chula Vista Day! This year for Beautify Chula Vista Day we will have two sites, one at Discovery Park and another at the Otay Recreation Center.  Volunteers will pick up trash, remove graffiti and do other beautification projects to make Chula Vista shine. 

This event has made an extensive impact on the City of Chula Vista as a whole.   Since the first Beautify Chula Vista Day,
thousands of dedicated residents have painted out 7,750 square feet of graffiti, stenciled 200 storm drains to warn against dumping, planted 117 trees, and removed nearly 40,000 pounds of debris
 littering neighborhoods in Chula Vista, showing that huge results can come from volunteers that donate just one morning a year toward helping their community.

More information about the event and registration can be found at: www.BeautifyChulaVista.org.

To stay up to date on upcoming cleanups and events, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! A current list of events is also available at cleansd.org/v_cleanups.php.

 

Meet our new Marketing Intern, Christina!

christinaToday’s post comes from ILACSD’s newest Marketing Intern, Christina Etchebarren!

Hey there readers of this blog and fans of I Love A Clean San Diego! My name is Christina, I’m the new Marketing Intern here at ILACSD and I’m so excited to be joining the team and learning from the wonderful staff and volunteers. I am a fourth year Environmental Systems major at UC San Diego, originally from a small town outside of Portland, Oregon. Growing up I’ve always been surrounded by environmentally conscientious communities, so it was no surprise that learning about and protecting our environment has turned in to a passion of mine. Letting people know about what we’re up to at ILACSD is a part of my job description and my first assignment was to attend one of our education presentations at University City High School on Tuesday, Feb. 12th.

monica_educationArriving at the high school brought back a strange wave of nostalgia for my carefree, hormone charged, rebellious teenage days and I kind of felt like never leaving. I sat myself in the back row of a marine science classroom trying to blend in inconspicuously as the students noisily settled into their seats. Monica Rosquillas, who is one of our lovely educators, introduced herself and took control of the students attention with a quickness and ease that would impress the pants off of any HS teacher I’m sure; high schoolers can be some of the most difficult crowds to reign in and she did so with confidence that can only come from plenty of experience.

monica_watershedThe presentation began with a lesson on the importance of water, which may seem obvious but sometimes all of us need a reminder about just how vital clean water is to not only our health, but the health of every living thing around us. The rest of the lesson plan was focused on watersheds, water quality and marine ecosystem health. Talking about environmental issues can be an extremely difficult task because you don’t want to come across as threatening or pessimistic and you don’t want present the problem  as overwhelmingly large or beyond help, but you do want to make it seem important and urgent enough to motivate people to care and to take action. The presentation that I Love A Clean San Diego has put together walks the line quite gracefully, and I noticed that even from the back of the classroom, all of the students seemed to stay engaged throughout the entire duration of the talk.

albatrossjar

Stomach contents from an Albatross include plastic caps, fishing line, and even a small wooden door knob.

Monica hit the message home by passing around a jar filled with contents from an Albatross’ stomach which included a pen and several other pieces of colorful plastic, I heard murmurs of horror coming from the pupils as they passed the jar around with disgust.  To be honest, although I’ve gone through several years of environmental education throughout my time at UCSD, I learned a lot about watersheds and how important it is that we do our best to keep them clean.

All in all, I walked out of University City High School proud to be a part of such an amazing and inspiring organization and feeling hopeful for our future generations of environmental enthusiasts, and I look forward to the months ahead here at ILACSD.

You’ll hear from me soon, until next time.

Christina

Did volunteers find love at Cupid’s Cleanup?

LexiToday’s post comes from ILACSD’s Community Events Coordinator, Lexi Ambrogi!

This past weekend, ILACSD hosted an event—my personal favorite—called Cupid’s Cleanup. The grand totals are pretty impressive: 231 volunteers joined us on the lawn outside of the PB Taylor Library to do a street-sweep cleanup of Pacific Beach’s streets and alleyways—an often neglected part of this coastal community—and removed nearly 500 lbs of debris (359 lbs trash, 128 lbs recyclables) in under 2 hours.

SONY DSCVolunteers were briefed on the importance of removing trash from our communities before it reaches the ocean and becomes a serious threat to the health of our marine ecosystems. They learned how trash can travel for miles through our storm drain system and be mistaken for food by sea creatures; armed with this knowledge, they took to the streets to fill up their trash bags.

SONY DSCAs this is our take on a “singles mingle” event, we decided to have a little fun with our volunteers: everyone wrote his or her name on a nametag either in green (single and ready to mingle!) or red (already spoken for). We can’t say for sure if sparks were flying between our volunteers, but it wouldn’t be the first time—two volunteers met at this cleanup in 2007 and eventually got married!

Our staff was taken aback by the overwhelming support and gratitude we received from people in the neighborhood. We had several walk-up volunteers who saw us on the lawn and decided to join us, and lots of people were asking how they could get involved with our future events (my answer: email me!)

SONY DSCAfter the cleanup, many volunteers walked over to Typhoon Saloon to join us for an after-party, where volunteers could win prizes for guessing our trash totals for the day. You can see photos from the event in our Facebook album.

Looks like fun, right? We’re jam-packing our 2013 schedule with cleanup events, so check back often to see where we’ll be next!

Local Boaters Take to the Seas for Coastal Cleanup Day 2012

Adam enjoying the ocean air on his home, the Betty Jean

The main focus of Coastal Cleanup Day is picking up trash on our beaches, along local creeks and rivers, and in local canyons. But what about the trash that’s already in the water? This year we’re attacking that water-logged trash as well. Adam Hopps joins us for his first Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 15th, as the volunteer Site Captain at our Shelter Island cleanup site.

Partnering with the Silver Gate Yacht Club, Adam hopes to get local boaters involved in cleaning up areas of our waterways that aren’t accessible by foot. Using grabbers and nets, these sea lovers will cleanup trash that is already floating in the water and even use tools to absorb oil that’s floating on top of the water. But enough from us, we’ll let Adam tell you more about it…

What motivated you to volunteer as a Site Captain for Coastal Cleanup Day?

I live on a sailboat in a marina on Shelter Island. Every day I witness the effects of litter and water pollution on our Bay. On a daily basis I see trash (usually plastic bottles and bags) floating on the surface of the water in and around in the marinas, in the Bay and out in the ocean. In the marinas it’s especially bad during low tide when trash has been brought in with the tide and becomes trapped in the shallow areas and in the sand – only accessible from a water craft.

Coastal Cleanup Day is California’s largest volunteer event focused on the marine environment but up until this point boaters haven’t been extremely involved in this event. When I was approached by ILACSD to coordinate a joint land and on-the-water cleanup site, I was thrilled at the idea of engaging boaters to make a difference in our own backyards as well as expanding the reach and environmental impact of this Cleanup.

How long have you been volunteering with ILACSD?

This is my first event and I’m excited to be partnering with the Silver Gate Yacht Club who will host the meet up location.

Why is that site important to you?

Living on a boat in San Diego is a blessed life. We have a dynamic marine & aquatic community, a gorgeous Bay to sail in and beautiful weather year round. It’s really hard to see the Bay tarnished with trash and oil. Even though approximately 80% of marine debris comes from inland communities, many of it makes its way into the open water which beach cleanup volunteers simply cannot access. The boating community is a natural fit for Coastal Cleanup Day because we have access to those areas from our boats, dinghies, kayaks and docks. Also, for the first time, we’re supplying on-the-water volunteers with oil absorbent sheets to use on surface level oil slicks.

We’re immensely lucky to have a magnificent natural resource like the San Diego Bay to call home and need to do our part to conserve and protect it.

What are you most looking forward to at Coastal Cleanup Day?

I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of great people come together for a common goal. I think it’s inspiring. Also, it wouldn’t be a boater event if it wasn’t followed by a dock party!

Why do you think events like Coastal Cleanup Day are important to keeping San Diego healthy and clean?

Well, not only are tons of trash and debris collected and removed from our greatest natural areas, but the people involved become more and more aware of the harmful effects of litter and pollution and band together to make a difference. Volunteers tend to get their own families and friends involved which is why this event seems to grow every year!

What is the strangest piece of trash you’ve found out on the water?

I can’t speak for CCD, but we’ll pull trash out of the water when we’re sailing in the ocean and we’ve found half a dozen birthday helium balloons over the years.

Have you registered to volunteer at Coastal Cleanup Day yet?
Click here and sign up for any of the over 85 cleanup sites across
San Diego County!

Believe it or not, high school kids DO care about our environment!

With many students heading back to school this week and next, today’s post comes from former ILACSD Environmental Educator Alex Mullen-Ley who shares her thoughts on our High School Watershed Education program and what it’s like working with high schoolers!

Let’s be honest: high school kids have a bad reputation. When I tell people that I teach high school students about water pollution prevention, they often say something like, “I could never do that!” It’s easy to stereotype high school students as self-centered and unmotivated. In reality, the vast majority of these kids are open-minded, eager to learn, and willing to help out in their communities.

Local high school students at a recent cleanup

I Love A Clean San Diego’s high school education presentation focuses on the importance of clean water, and is designed to increase students’ knowledge of local watersheds and promote behaviors that prevent marine pollution from urban runoff.  We identify important concepts such as the water cycle, food webs, and biomagnification and relate them to real life issues. We also review the latest information about the pacific garbage patch and help students identify everyday actions they can take to keep their local watershed healthy.

In 2011, ILACSD educated over 9100 students at 36 high schools around San Diego County through this program. It can be tedious talking about the same thing for five or six class periods, but the uniqueness of the students makes each day different. Nearly all of the 9th through 12th graders that I have talked to are genuinely interested in protecting the natural environment.

More than beach cleanups, students can get community service hours doing a variety of projects

Many high schools in San Diego County now actually require community service hours to graduate. So as the educators explain how trash ends up making its way into the ocean, we offer students the chance help at one of our upcoming cleanups.  It’s a win-win situation; ILACSD has more volunteers to clean up the canyons and beaches and the students earn community service hours.

Students learn that small actions like recycling can have a big impact

The watershed education program isn’t the only way that ILACSD is trying to reach out to high school kids. We recently partnered with the City of San Diego’s Think Blue campaign to create a pilot project for high school students to become more active in preventing stormwater pollution. The program gives the students resources to design a project to increase awareness of the impacts from urban runoff on local waterways. At the end of the year we will have a celebration for participating school groups where they can show off their projects and meet other like-minded teens.

When I first realized that I was going to be teaching high school kids, I was nervous about it. I thought that they might be uninterested in the material or might even have a lack of respect for me. I was wrong to prejudge them. The students I’ve talked to as the Environmental Educator are smart, motivated, and make me feel optimistic about the future of San Diego.

Volunteers Kicked Butts at the Morning After Mess Cleanup

Today’s post comes from ILACSD’s Community Events Intern, Gabe Grinstein.

Volunteers up bright and early to cleanup up the Morning After Mess!

Already this morning, 227 volunteers came out and joined I Love A Clean San Diego by Belmont Park in Mission Beach for the Morning After Mess cleanup. After having the day off yesterday to celebrate Independence Day, there was no better way to start off the day than with a beach cleanup to recover all the mess from yesterday’s festivities. It was an early start for me, getting up at 7 so I could get to Belmont Park by 8 to start setting up. To be honest, I started quite slow since I was very tired, but I woke up once people started to come by and sign up. The mood was great around the volunteers as there were many eager people ready to participate, and we had 94/9 radio right next to us playing music and advertising our organization and event on the radio.

Volunteers combed the beaches picking up cigarette butts, plastic bags, bottles, and more.

Time always flies by during events since it becomes so busy. I didn’t clean up any trash, but I weighed the trash and recycling bags, and added tally-marks to the big board to show how many cigarette butts, plastic bags, styrofoam pieces, and other items that we collected. By the end, we had marked 8,260 cigarette butts! This is an astonishing number since one cigarette butt can contaminate up to one gallon of water, so thankfully we picked them up before they reached the water.

Gabe keeping track of trash as it came in.

Volunteers also picked up 80 plastic bags, 134 styrofoam pieces, 345 pounds of trash, and 130 pounds of recyclables. People began to leave after a couple of hours and we started wrapping up around 11:30. The end is always my favorite part of the cleanups because I get to see all of the smiles of people when they turn their bags in. I can always see a sense of accomplishment on the faces of the volunteers. It is a great feeling knowing that we bettered the environment we live in, even if it wasn’t our mess.

Enjoy the Scene, But Keep It Clean!

Last year’s CBC trash bin.

I Love A Clean San Diego and other local nonprofits are at it again, hoping to make this summer the cleanest on record at some of our most popular beach destinations. As hundreds of thousands of people look to descend on local beaches this summer, I Love A Clean San Diego, FreePB,org, and Surfrider Foundation are working hard to make sure the beaches don’t bear the brunt of what thousands of people leave behind…trash! As part of the Clean Beach Coalition, our organizations work together to remind our community to be aware of the amount of trash they make, and also place temporary trash and recycling bins at the most popular beaches during popular holidays like the 4th of July.

Even with the added trash and recycling bins, inevitably some trash still ends up on the sand. If you’re sick of your favorite beach getting trashed, you can do something about it by volunteering at the Morning After Mess, scheduled for Thursday, July 5th at 9am! ILACSD will be hosting our cleanup site at Belmont Park in Mission Beach. Contact Jemma De Leon at jdeleon@cleansd.org or 619-704-2778 if you are interest in participating or have any event questions.

Our thanks go out to the sponsors who helped make this year’s campaign a reality!

Think Blue – City of San Diego Stormwater & Transporation Department
Pacific Beach Shore Club
Lahaina’s
Keep California Beautiful
Car2go
Vavi
ClifBar
BarWest
Paradise Point Resort & Spa.

Visit CleanBeachCoalition.org to learn more!

Stopping Cigarette Litter, One Butt at a Time

Today’s post comes from ILACSD’s Director of Development and Marketing, Morgan Justice-Black!

A few years ago, I Love A Clean San Diego heard about a program being launched by our national affiliate, Keep America Beautiful. The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, although in its infancy, seemed like a great addition to our program arsenal. Anyone who has participated in one of our cleanups knows that cigarette butts are far and away the most common item picked up. It’s a painstaking process, bending over and picking them up one by one. While removing cigarette litter is good, preventing it is even better. So that’s what we set out to do.

In collaboration with the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, we are implementing three new CLPP programs this summer. The areas targeted for ash can installation include: Oceanside, North Park, and La Mesa. Prior to placing the ash cans, our volunteers do litter scans to find the areas that have the most cigarette litter. Then, ash cans are installed, and the cigarette litter collection begins. Typically, after about a month, volunteers will do a post installation litter scan to see how many butts still make it onto the ground. One lucky volunteer has the dubious task of counting each cigarette butt in all the ash cans to see how many are collected during the first few months. In some cases, we’ve been able to collect upwards of 2,500 butts in a single month!

We are excited to expand this already successful program. The three new areas we are reaching join Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla and Point Loma where ash cans were installed in previous years. We estimate these ashcans have prevented over 30,000 cigarette butts from littering our local environment each year.

Kevin, winner of our Creek to Bay Volunteers in Action Photo Contest, shows just a handful of the butts picked up at one cleanup location.


ILACSD Logo

Subscribe to ecoBLOGic

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email!

Join 8,929 other followers

Archives

Follow Us On Twitter


%d bloggers like this: